It has been said that life is too short for us to be consumed with negativity. It has been said that you should always look for the positive in everything that happens. What are the impacts to me as a person if I immerse myself in negativity or even worse I am subjected to it unknowingly? What are the impacts to an organization that has become immersed in negativity – which is becoming toxic?
Sadly, there are some folks that cannot see that they are negative and they actual thrive in that type of an environment – or so they think. They are unaware of the impact that they have on others around them. They have no concept of the impact that they can have on an organization.
Negative thinking appears to be more prevalent than positive thinking. It seems that with most people positive thinking requires some effort, whereas negative thinking comes easily and uninvited. It is interesting that we would take the negative route when it has far reaching impacts on us, our families and our place of work.
I have always said when I am working with people in a mentoring relationship that if they have been brought up in a happy and positive atmosphere, where people value success and self-improvement, then it will be easier for them to think positively and expect success. If they have been brought up under poor or difficult situations, they will probably go on expecting difficulties and failure. We all view everything through our predominant mental attitude. If our thoughts are negative, our lives and circumstances will probably mirror these thoughts. The mind does not usually judge or examine thoughts and opinions before accepting them. If what it hears, sees and reads is always negative, it accepts this as the standard way of thinking and behavior. I have observed people that have limited external social interaction and what interaction they get is with the television. They can become very negative as all that they are subjected to is negativity. What I have seen is that the longer that they are immersed in this behavior the harder it is to move them over to the positive side. What ends up happening with the negative folks is that they push out their negativity to those around them, their work place and their family. They then become infectious and spread their toxic behavior to others. Sadly, their behavior to them is acceptable as they know no different.
If we ever wondered what the cumulative effect of all this negativity is, I found this drawing that accurately depicts the cycle that we can all get into once we allow negativity to consume who we are as a person:
In the workplace this can have quite a dramatic effect. Some of the impacts are: wasted time, hindered creativity and innovation loss of good employees, lower morale, and loss of loyalty. All of which impact productivity and profitability.
All is not lost! You can work with a lot of folks to help them embrace being positive. You will find that they are receptive to the behavioral change. You will also find however that there are a small minority that you will not be able to change and in an organization that can be a problem. They can go from being disengaged employees to actively disengaged employees. When that happens, you will be faced with some tough decisions.
We all have choices to make. You can choose to be positive and make a difference – to yourself, your family and to those that you work with. You can choose to be negative and with that will come some not so pleasant outcomes.
If you or your organization is concerned about the negativity in your life or in your organization seek out a trained mentor to work with you to make a positive difference in your life and the workplace. Leverage the “power of mentoring”!
- Managing Negative Attitudes – EDMA 2010 - Steven Graham, Danielle Rogacki,Casey Schumann, Timothy Zuberbier